Retirement: the value of hobbies
Hobbies are interesting from whichever angle you view them. Some people begin their hobby early in life and maintain their interest and singular focus all the way through to the time when they retire – a time when they can then happily devote more time to it. Others develop and abandon many hobbies over their lifetime. Others again, look specifically for a hobby they can turn into a business once they retire.
But whichever path you choose during your working years – one favourite pastime, many dabblings, or no hobby at all – when you arrive at retirement, a hobby can be a lifesaving engagement at a time when you are having to adjust to one of the great changes in life. Hobbies help you to focus on something other than worrying about how you are going to spend your days; they help you to relax, learn new skills, and are often instrumental in connecting you with like-minded individuals.
Your mind is designed to keep working
- Hobbies keep the mind working. They are often creative in some way – either painting, writing, or designing something. Taking up new studies to upgrade your skills is also highly recommended. Many people in retirement find they have a new career on their hands, simply by learning new methods of making something such as wooden toys or designing and making new garments. Even following a passion in charity work can lead to new endeavours and possibly lucrative involvement as you find fresh ideas in making your hobby a business.
- Mentally preparing yourself to take up new engagements such as a hobby, or business, or charity fundraising, or part-time work using your skills, is vital to keeping yourself attentive and involved after retirement. If you can combine an enjoyable, long-awaited pastime with financial gain – well, then you have truly found a way to ensure your retirement is the most fulfilling time of your life.
- It is quite wrong to assume that after a certain age you can’t learn new skills, try new activities, or make fresh lifestyle changes. The human brain never stops working and it needs stimulation and engagement. Finding new hobbies you enjoy, or developing a skilled hobby that you have honed over years, keeps you socially active and connected to your family and community.
- Learning new skills, or a business operation, or arts and crafts…kicks the mind into activity; you will feel a sense of pride and achievement. And the great thing is that you can do all this at your own pace, no time keeping and no pressure. Create something to express yourself, or hone a purpose, an activity that can be everything that is both fun and therapeutic.
The value of keeping interested and busy
The chief thing about living happily and comfortably in retirement years – well, chief after sorting your finances – are hobbies that keep you either physically or mentally involved – preferably both. Hobbies are good for your health. Unless of course, your sports hobby involves sitting on the couch and watching the game while snacking.
Taking on physical hobbies: This is great for lowering blood pressure, strengthening the core muscular structure, improving sleep, and self-esteem. If you feel good physically, you will automatically improve your mental outlook. Physical activity helps prevent or control chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.
So consider such pastimes as: Yoga; Tai Chi, swimming; walking; dancing; golf. These provide relatively gentle exercise with opportunity to meet other people and make friends. Swimming keeps you healthy by improving muscle tone, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. These activities help strengthen us mentally as well. Add to this card games such as Bridge, along with Scrabble, Sodoku, puzzles, etc. All of these enhance problem-solving skills and keep the brain sharp and alert.
Fostering rescue animals: This can be very fulfilling, and you are not committed forever. Taking care of an injured or psychologically damaged dog or cat can be a fulltime occupation. And there is always great pleasure in seeing an animal gradually regain its trust in humans and energy for life. And that joy and satisfaction in turn creates good chemical reactions in your brain, reducing blood pressure and depression. Animals are great at helping us to socialise and connect.
Gardening: Best thing about gardening as a hobby is that it gets you out in the sun, which has vitamin D, which in turn releases serotonin, which in turn is a feel-good chemical in the brain. Maybe grow your own vegetables, and perhaps even think of turning your gardening skills into a small business. So garden to feel good, remain physically active, and enjoy (perhaps literally) the fruits of your labours.
Starting your own business: If you have business skills it’s good to not let them go to waste. On the other hand, learning these skills can be immensely useful if you have a hobby that could prove financially supportive. Living beyond a salary and on a pension can be a strain, so finding something you’re good at either creatively or technically would be sensible. There are many organisations and financial and business experts out there, that are ready to help you.